The map of the brain revealing the trauma of tinnitus sufferers is now available.
Only one team has succeeded in directly recording what exactly happens in the brain of people suffering from this deafening condition.
While previous efforts to pinpoint the changes within the brain using fMRI and other scanning techniques didn’t prove to be efficient, this study involved only just four electrodes.
For the first time, we have it. And it’s more detailed than ever
The patient whose brain was scanned is a 50-year-old man with epilepsy. In order to find the source of his seizures, electrodes were implanted all across his left hemisphere for 2 weeks.
Dr. Phillip Gander, from the University of Iowa in the US, says: “It is such a rarity that a person requiring invasive electrode monitoring for epilepsy also has tinnitus, that we aim to study every such person if they are willing.”
Astonishing results that lead to new researches over the academic community
In order to reach these observations, scientists have used a method named “residual inhabitation”. Basically, what they did was to play their subject a 30-second burst of noise on headphones on 60 occasions over the course of 2 days. About half the time, the man’s tinnitus, a high-pitched ringing, cooled down right after listening to the noise. That’s how the scientists could distinguish between the tinnitus and epilepsy indicators and the activity generated by each condition.
Their findings revealed that “rather than just a small area of the auditory cortex… […] these correlates of tinnitus were present throughout a huge proportion of the brain areas we sampled”, said Dr. Sedley, doctor and neuroscientist at Newcastle University.
According to Prof. Andrew King, an auditory neuroscientist at Oxford University, the results were a “huge step up”, in tracing the underpinnings of tinnitus.